New York’s politicians are still pushing for a greener taxi fleet, but the models being considered as the “Taxi of Tomorrow” could potentially reduce the fleet’s overall fuel efficiency. Currently, about one third of the city’s cabs are hybrids, and the other two thirds is made up of gas-guzzling Ford Crown Victorias. Combined, the fleet averages 22 miles per gallon. More than a year ago, the Taxi and Limousine Commission launched the Taxi of Tomorrow competition to find a new model that will replace all of New York City’s current cabs — including the hybrids — in order to make a greener fleet. The only problem is that at least one of the models being considered only gets 21 miles per gallon, which would bring down the fleet’s fuel efficiency.
The finalists for the Taxi of Tomorrow are the Ford Transit Connect, the Nissan NV200, and the Turkey-based Karsan. The Ford Transit Connect only gets 21 mpg, and the Gotham Gazette reported the commission would not reveal the fuel economy for the other two vehicles, and neither would their respective companies. The Ford Transit Connect and a diesel version of the Nissan are currently used in Europe, and the Karzan is still in development. None of them are manufactured in the United States.
Mark Izeman, the director of the New York Urban Program at the National Resources Defense council told the Gotham Gazette that using one of the models chosen in the ‘Taxi of Tomorrow’ competition would not have environmental benefits the city is looking for. “If they go forward with one of these three finalists, it’s a step backward at least in the short term for fuel efficiency and tailpipe emissions,” said Izeman.
Because fuel efficiency and emissions can only be regulated under federal law, the Taxi and Limousine Commission blames Washington for the current predicament with the competition finalists. Senator Gillibrand and Representative Nadler introduced new legislation earlier this week in hopes of changing the law to allow cities to set standards for taxi cab emissions that would mandate a 25 mpg minimum. If the legislation goes through, it is unclear if the Taxi of Tomorrow would be modified to meet the requirements.
Via Gotham Gazette